home
RSS
August 23rd, 2011
01:29 PM ET

Could my bipolar brother develop schizophrenia?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Tuesdays, it's Dr. Charles Raison, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, and an expert in the mind-body connection for health.

Question asked by Benjamin from St. Catharines, Ontario

I was wondering if my brother, who we have been told is bipolar, could develop schizophrenia? My uncle, my mom's brother, was schizophrenic and unfortunately fell victim to the mental illness. We are aware that there have been some mental health issues with males on my mother's side of the family, so could it be possible that he could be schizophrenic as well as bipolar?

Expert answer

Dear Benjamin,

Your question points to a major problem confronting the field of psychiatry, which is the imprecision of our diagnostic categories. The problem has a simple cause but no simple answer.

The cause comes from the fact that all our disease states are based on symptoms and how they are clustered together, rather than on any real biological mechanism.

In this way, our diagnoses are similar to the way most medical illnesses were defined before the 20th century. For example, in the old days people with fluid in the lungs and chest pain were said to have pleurisy - it was defined by its symptoms.

Ask our doctors a question

Nowadays we recognize literally hundreds of different reasons for pleurisy symptoms, many of them with specific treatments that have no effect on other causes for pleurisy.

Diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are like pleurisy and not like adenocarcinoma of the lung or pneumococcal pneumonia or an aortic dissection, all of which cause pleurisy, but all of which are disease conditions based on an understanding of physical mechanisms rather than symptoms.

Both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are better thought of as syndromes rather than specific diseases. As such, someone has schizophrenia if he or she meets symptom criteria for schizophrenia spelled out in the diagnostic manual. The same thing holds for bipolar disorder.

It sounds simple enough, but things immediately get complicated. First, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder share important symptoms; for example, psychotic thought and behavior can be present in both conditions, making the syndromes hard to differentiate.

If a person is heavy on psychosis and relatively light on either depression or mania, he or she looks schizophrenic and is called such. If a person is heavier on depressions and manias and only has psychotic episodes when in a mood state, he or she looks more like someone with bipolar disorder and is called such.

To add to our diagnostic troubles, over time many people's symptom patterns swing from mostly psychotic to mostly mood-related and back again, making them sometimes seem schizophrenic and sometimes bipolar. And other people spend most of their lives in an intermediate state, with lots of psychosis and lots of depression or mania, but not enough to be fully bipolar. These people are called schizoaffective.

By definition, a person can't have bipolar disorder and schizophrenia at the same time. But a person can sure struggle for years with psychosis, odd behavior and mood swings and be hard to classify clearly into one diagnosis or the other, which sounds to be the case with your brother.

In the midst of these complications, there is some good news. More important than his exact diagnosis (which is after all only a description of his symptoms and how they cluster over time) is the fact that both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder respond to similar medications.

The important thing is not his diagnosis, but his need to get into - or remain in - consistent treatment, which offers the best hope of providing a hopeful long-term outcome.

Follow @CNNHealth on Twitter.


soundoff (1,758 Responses)
  1. Internet Marketing Mechanics

    http://www.aa.autoa.dk/external/track.php?url=http://affordableranking.com&campaign_id=3185&customer_id=1120

    May 9, 2021 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Content Marketing Firm

    Can I just say what a comfort to discover somebody who truly knows what they're discussing online. You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you aren't more popular since you surely possess the gift.

    https://www.atome77.com/annuaire_sites_redirection.php?SiteID=1681&SiteURL=https://affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Seo Marketing Companies Near Me

    http://stockfootageonline.com/website.php?url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 18:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Local Marketing Service

    http://singingcello.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 18:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Social Media Marketing La Habra

    You have made some decent points there. I looked on the net for more info about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.

    https://www.m.snek.ai/redirect?url=https://affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Content Marketing Masters

    http://www.otticanicolosi.com/?p=1

    May 9, 2021 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Social Media Marketing Jobs Orange County

    Hello there! This post could not be written any better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I'll forward this article to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    https://funai.gov.br/index.php/component/finder/search?q=https://affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Beds California

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and also the rest of the website is also really good.

    http://kuzu-kuzu.com/l.cgi?http://ocrvcenter.com

    May 9, 2021 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Batteries Near Me

    When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment. Is there a means you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

    https://www.yilucaifu.com/redirect.html?path=http://ocrvcenter.com

    May 9, 2021 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Video Marketing Quotes

    After I originally commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment. Is there a means you can remove me from that service? Kudos!

    http://www.flutrigger.biz/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 21:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RebfZisse

    buy cialis c5 http://rcialisgl.com/ buy cialis

    May 10, 2021 at 09:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Internet Marketing Teacher

    It’s hard to find educated people in this particular topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    https://ibrew.pro/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Digital Marketing Consultants

    http://www.katstat.ru/go.php?url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 13:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Social Media Marketing Businesses Near Me

    Good blog you've got here.. It’s hard to find excellent writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    http://clickonlinepharmacy.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. BbshMile

    viagra name http://loxviagra.com/ – viagra dosage by weight viagra over the counter usa

    May 10, 2021 at 14:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Local Marketing Association Near Me

    You've made some really good points there. I looked on the net for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

    http://muany.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Digital Marketing California

    http://www.electricalguard.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Local Marketing Center

    This is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate information… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!

    https://www.oceanbreezegolf.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Digital Marketing Agency Orange County

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes which will make the biggest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

    https://dining-entertainment-auburn-ca.com/great-food-music/?wptouch_switch=desktop&redirect=http3A2F2Faffordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 18:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Content Marketing Program

    http://skincareexperts.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Internet Marketing Program

    https://www.ridepatco.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Video Marketing Agency

    Your style is unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.

    http://www.flagstarhomeloan.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Digital Marketing Services

    I must thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this blog. I really hope to see the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now 😉

    https://www.iexperience.biz/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 20:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Internet Marketing Masters

    http://www.brauernet.com/leon/forum/go.php?url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 21:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Social Media Marketing Company Irvine

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am experiencing issues with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting the same RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

    https://www.1stepmarket.info/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Social Media Marketing Quotes

    Good blog you have here.. It’s difficult to find excellent writing like yours these days. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    http://www.opticaremanagedvision.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 22:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Digital Marketing Associations

    http://www.smi-re.jp/contact/index.php?name=KukunaNeko&url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 23:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Internet Marketing Companies

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, nonetheless I genuinely thought you'd have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you can fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

    http://www.erotiqlinks.com/cgi-bin/a2/out.cgi?id=70&u=http://affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 00:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Internet Marketing Agencies Near Me

    https://packetlogistics.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Social Media Marketing Agencies Near Me

    http://www.impression.ru/cgi-bin/clicks/redirect.pl?ei=riviera_tours&goto=http://affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 02:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. LbsoZisse

    best prices for generic cialis http://ucialisdas.com/ generic cialis?

    May 11, 2021 at 02:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Digital Marketing Quotes

    http://adminer.org/redirect/?url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 03:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Video Marketing Association

    https://machodocrenaissance.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 04:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Social Media Marketing Jobs

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a friend who was doing a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me dinner due to the fact that I discovered it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this issue here on your internet site.

    http://ailimg.org/al/web/switchLanguage.html?lang=en&url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 05:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Seo Marketing Experts

    http://www.global-haircare.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 05:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Content Marketing Job

    Very good article! We will be linking to this great article on our website. Keep up the good writing.

    http://www.old2.mtp.pl/out/www.affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 06:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Internet Marketing Company Orange County

    http://analyticalessay.com/redirect.cgi?query=http3A2F2Faffordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 06:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Content Marketing Quote

    https://www.flyandtravellounge.de/content?url=https://www.affordableranking.com/

    May 11, 2021 at 08:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Google Marketing Companies

    http://www.coreshops.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Google Marketing Business

    https://finefoodsoftheworld.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. /profile

    Hi, its pleasant piece of writing regarding media print,
    we all understand media is a great source of facts.

    May 11, 2021 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Content Marketing Firms

    https://www.web-forsite.ru/?l=affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Social Media Marketing Agencies Near Me

    Very nice write-up. I definitely appreciate this website. Thanks!

    http://www.eugenwilliam.se/?wptouch_switch=desktop&redirect=http3A2F2Faffordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Internet Marketing Pictures

    https://tri-parishbank.biz/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=wholesalenearme.com

    May 11, 2021 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Content Marketing Programs

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I'm hoping to see the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own website now 😉

    http://www.luxoft-training.com/bitrix/rk.php?goto=http://gomode.tv

    May 11, 2021 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. rv step repair

    This is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate information… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

    https://affiliates.streamray.com/p/offsite.cgi?http://youtube.com/watch?v=Hyl8G0Ukbbs

    May 11, 2021 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. solar panel installation orange county

    That is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very precise info… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

    https://www.streetmap.co.uk/redirect.srf?id=toshibam&d=https://ocrvmotorsports.com/rv-repair-shop-inland-empire-california

    May 11, 2021 at 19:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Running Board Repair Dodge Sprinter

    I need to to thank you for this fantastic read!! I absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. I have you book-marked to check out new stuff you post…

    https://www.fens.org/EPiServerMail/Public/CheckLink.aspx?url=https://fleettruckrepairshop.com/van-maintenance-shop-near-me

    May 11, 2021 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Entertainment System Near Me

    http://wakolda.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=instagram.com/ocrvcenter

    May 11, 2021 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. wax pen weed

    However, be apt to choose a site that is trustworthy. The reason why I pick Bama when compared to the best ever sold. Plus, it really helps build focus and strength of mind weed and blunt{The buzzing activities in the football fan gift shops go at least a new high the actual football world cup. Look at the comfort quotient of t-shirts while choosing one from them. Motivating where most go horribly wrong.|The other, shoot to find a box which isn't 80 of one's best box height.

    https://pilotdiarystore.com/

    May 11, 2021 at 21:25 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

Leave a Reply to Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.